The time has finally come, where we digital marketers get to update our strategies and frantically review and update our websites. That’s right, it is time for another Google algorithm update.
Although this was announced a while ago now, and despite some delays, it seems that the Page Experience algorithm update has finally started rolling out in June 2021.
To be brief, Google is rolling out a new algorithm that will include factors such as page experience and user engagement. To start with the initiative, they’ve launched Web Vitals – an endeavour to measure and enhance users web browsing experiences on sites across all industries
What is Page Experience and what does it entail?
To put it succinctly, Google wants to know if a user's experience on the page is satisfactory. The following metrics are used: whether or not the site loads quickly; how mobile-friendly it is; and whether users can view content in one place without jumping around as they wait for additional information to load.
Google's core web vitals are a major factor in page rank experience. The mobile-friendly update, Page Speed Update, the HTTPS ranking boost and intrusive interstitials penalty all contribute to how Google determines which pages are high quality or low-quality content based on their own set of metrics for determining this.
Bad Page Experience signals
- Low Engagement: The truth is that people want to be engaged with on the internet. Notice how many sites are failing at this? They just don't care about their customers’ feelings, or what they think of them as a company and an individual. People today want more than sales - they also need entertainment! It's not enough for websites these days to have good prices; you must provide your users with something worthwhile too like empathy or understanding if you hope to get anywhere in 2021.
- Slow Load Times: It's no secret that we all hate waiting. It can be annoying to click on a search result and wait for the page load, but it feels like a lifetime while you are doing so! This is especially true when your potential consumers feel this way too; they will undoubtedly get put off by how long it takes which could cost you sales in return.
- Poor Page Design: You know what they say: every page is a journey, but some pages are more difficult to navigate than others. It could be because the design feels outdated or uninspiring and there's no clear content structure. Again, this can prove to be harmful to your target market in the long run.
Good Page Experience signals
- Core Web Vitals: Google's Core Web Vitals are a series of metrics that provide insight into how quickly your site loads. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is the speed at which your largest page element renders, First Input Delay (FID) measures the time between when you input something and when Chrome responds to it, Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), quantifies how many elements on each webpage shift as they load in so together these three measurements help quantify whether or not your website is loading as Google expects. If you see positive results for these on a search console report, you should be in good stead.
- Usage of HTTPS: Data encryption is a necessary measure to preserve the privacy and safety of web users. By using SSL certificates that scramble this data during transit all while maintaining security through verification checks like domain validation, for example, websites protect customer communications so hackers cannot intercept it or misuse it for malicious purposes such as identity theft and financial frauds among other things.
- Non Intrusive Interstitials: Google has taken a stand against intrusive popups and ads with their intrusive interstitials update. The devaluation algorithm aims to keep users focused on the content they are requesting without being interrupted by unnecessary advertisements or obtrusive options, such as popup screens that take up most of your screen space. Therefore, if you adhere to these requirements, it should reflect positively on your website.
- Good Mobile Usability: The world has gone mobile, and so should your website. Mobile sites account for over 60% of Google searches with AMP pages being the go-to site optimization solution to speed up page loading times on a smartphone or tablet's browser. The AMP Page Experience Guide offers an easy way to analyze what can be done better in terms of performance by looking at key metrics like time spent reading content, bounce rates, load speeds and more.
- Safe Browsing: The internet is a fast-paced, interactive space for sharing information. Sites that feel unresponsive will turn away users in droves and they may never come back. It’s important to make sure your site doesn't contain any malware, spyware or other potentially malicious scripts to protect both you as the owner of the site and visitors who may be tricked into visiting other sites with harmful content because it was advertised on yours.
Quick things you can do to prepare for Page Experience
Even though the update has begun rolling out, it is a gradual process that is not likely to be fully implemented until August. To get your website ready for this update, the most obvious thing to do would be to conduct an audit of your website and ensure that your pages meet the criteria for positive ranking signals as mentioned above. However, there are also some quick things you can do either in the meantime.
Firstly, you can focus on compressing or resizing images. This is something that commonly affects the speed of your page and from our experience, it tends to crop up a lot when using PageSpeed Insights which allows you to see ways you can make your web pages faster.
Next, you can take a look at the links on your website. You’ll want to see if there are any broken links as they can be detrimental to your website’s performance if they are not monitored efficiently. If you have links that are leading to 404 pages, you’ll need to find an appropriate redirection destination as soon as possible.
Furthermore, you need to look out for any potentially toxic links that are pointing towards your website as you don’t want your website associated with anything that isn’t directly related to the company. This is more geared towards making sure your customer feels safe when visiting your website.
In any case, the most important thing is to be aware of the update and keep in communication with your colleagues in order to create an effective strategy for meeting Google’s requirements and mitigating any potential disasters.
We hope that you can take all the steps necessary to ensure that you are ready for Page Experience. After all, as digital marketers, we like to see everyone succeed when Google gives us something new and exciting to deal with.
Today is Earth Day, and what better day to announce the changes we are implementing here at Design Box. Over the last year, we have been looking at how each service we provide impacts the environment and how we operate as a digital marketing agency from home or at the office.
It's been a bit of a minefield, but the more we learnt, the more we have realised how much of a difference we can all make.
"We all need to do our part for a better future no matter who we are."
Why is becoming more eco friendly so important to us?
We may be considered a small web and digital marketing agency, but some of our clients wouldn't be regarded as small. The services we provide to host and build websites use energy, and as these clients grow, they receive more traffic and use more resources, which will require more energy. We decided to start making more eco-friendly websites and offer a hosting solution that is as green as possible.
We may not look like groovy hippies, but we have a responsibility to do what we can to make the place we live in a better place. It's surprising how much we can all do.
Here are some interesting facts about how important this is for a web agency and why it shouldn't be overlooked.
How much energy does the Web use? (Data from 2020)
Even before the Covid-19 epidemic, the electricity consumption of the internet represented as much as that of Great Britain! Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) accounted for 6 to 10% of global electricity consumption, or 4% of our greenhouse gas emissions. And this figure increases by 5 to 7% each year! The usage is now more than the equivalent of all air traffic globally, prooving this is not something that we all should ignore.
How much C02 does the average web page use, and what does this mean?
The average web page produces 1.76 grams of CO2 per page viewed. For a website with 10,000 monthly page views, that's 211 kg CO2 per year. That's the equivalent of boiling water for over 30,000 cups of tea per year or enough electricity to drive an electric car 3,200 km per year!
(Data sourced from https://www.websitecarbon.com/)
What are we doing at Design Box to help with our environmental impact?
We are offsetting Carbon by planting Trees and contributing to great projects around the world.
Last year we teamed up with Ecology to offset the Carbon we use for each team member by planting trees every month and contributing monthly to funding and supporting projects around the world, from turning waste in Thailand to electricity to fuel-efficient cooking stoves in Honduras.
Over the last 10 months, we have helped plant over 1000 trees, create a positive climate workforce and culture reduced over 60 Tons of Carbon emissions.
This is just the start. Our mission is to have planted a forest of over 10,000 trees in the next three years and do more to help worldwide on many other projects.
Checkout out our little forest over at Eco logi: https://ecologi.com/designboxmedia
'We switched our website hosting provider to Google cloud?
In 2020 we began with a search to find not only to find a green website hosting provider but to search for a provider that would increase our client's hosting service. We knew Google was one of the world's largest providers for website hosting the speed and reliability would be second to none. After many thorough tests with different providers, continuous researching, and constant hosting environment tweaking, we managed to create an environment for all of our WordPress clients that improved website speed and reliability and morally provided an eco-friendly service.
We switched all of our clients in August 2020. The transition went smoothly, and the constant niggles we had before were almost non-existent. The service was such an improvement we couldn't ever consider looking back and looking forward to further future changes. They are one of the most eco-friendly website hosting providers in the world, making this a no-brainer to switch providers and upgrade our clients' hosting service.
Some facts about Google Clouds website hosting services
- 100% renewable energy for all cloud regions
- 50% less energy than average data centres
- 90% waste diverted from landfills
Google's mission and carbon commitments: https://sustainability.google/commitments/
Switching the energy, we use in the office and at home to a green provider
Thanks to the help of Wildfire Energy, we managed to source a green energy provider for our office using Total Green. Tom and Marc also recently switched all of their home energy providers to Bulb, a great green energy provider. Doing this means we are doing our part to run the electricity we use from a more ethical energy provider.
What are we working towards at Design Box?
Check out some of the things we are working on at Design Box over the coming years.
More eco-friendly websites
We will continue to redevelop some of our company processes for how we create websites. It's a big project to not only keep them more eco-friendly but profitable as a business too.
Rewarding new clients and incentivising client reviews by planting more trees
For every new client we bring on, we will be planting 50 trees in their name.
We will also be planting trees for any client that leaves a positive review on each platform, whether Google, Clutch and even bonus tress for video testimonials.
Working towards a paperless business by 2022
There are many factors for using paper in our business: contracts, proposals, accounting, and day-to-day business use. We are working towards transitioning all of this to go digital, so our printer will soon live cupboard to Mr Fax machine.
Just the start of great things to come.
It's an exciting new chapter for us at Designbox and we cant wait to see how this part of our company evolve.
You can read more about our Eco-journey here https://designbox.co.uk/eco-friendly-web-design-agency/
Happy Earth Day!
That's right, we've gone and done it. We've created a new brand identity. A completely reimagined look for our company. We believe this is the most significant jump we have made for our brand and we couldn't be more excited to tell you all about what we've been up to... It’s been four years, and we have decided to rebrand as an agency to increase awareness of our brand further.
Going through different iterations of the project, we can recall the idea of a rebrand officially started back in March 2020, at the time talks of an office move were being proposed, to make space for our growing team. Unfortunately, Coronavirus seemed to halt a lot of our initial progress as we doubled down our focus to help our clients through these difficult times. Naturally, the rebrand was a little stop-start in the early stages, where our focus was less about finding time to put back into ourselves, and more about aligning ourselves to our client’s goals and survival.
We focused on the integral ideas of what Design Box Media means to us and our long term goals. Many companies around us can switch up their look because of being reactive in this market, we’ve seen agencies rebrand almost instantly to help them keep up with the times, which is not a bad thing on paper.
We wanted to dig deep and come up with a visual identity and brand personality which would reflect who we are now. Although a quick fix could have been more cost effective, no expense had been left behind. We wanted to focus our thoughts on how we can stay ahead, from internal processes to our impact on the environment, and in the process show that we are more relevant than ever before.
In July 2020 we welcomed back Marc Baker who is our Senior Designer. Marc has worked with many brands including Monitor Audio, Bulb, Zoopla and more. Marc was the latest addition to our Design team back in July, as we were preparing to embark on a complete company rebrand. Marc gained sufficient experience knowing exactly what goes into a rebrand when starting out, as these sorts of projects can naturally take many twists and turns. We needed someone to oversee the process and manage the teams inputs and research collectively. “We were very excited at the idea to work with Marc again, where he had previously worked with us five years ago” said Thomas Amos.
On re-joining the Design Box team, Marc had this to say...
“I was delighted to be given the opportunity to come back to Design Box Media. What was meant to be a 4-week contract turned into a new role being created for me. No matter if I was working for another company or studio, Tom would have me drop by from time to time for a catch-up. Even though some time had passed since we last worked together, I would always make remarks about coming back one day and working with Tom again. We’ve achieved so much in what feels like little time and to be heading up a team and moving forwards with our ever-growing client base, we are really excited to roll out this new rebrand, and the next chapter for Design Box.”
As the rebrand was starting to take shape, there was the other big news of an office move across the road to a much larger premises. This created more work for our team, and naturally, the excitement started to build as the rest of the team started putting together a much wider plan of how we want our new office to feel. As the ideas accumulated, one thing was essential to Design Box Media’s growth: the culture. Once the office had been refitted for purpose, culture was at the heart of everything important to creating a workspace that everyone can enjoy and look after. The intake of a new state of the art coffee machine was to the delight of everyone’s mood as there are eight coffee options to choose from, and every kind of tea you can imagine under the sun is stocked up in our new space. Not only will our staff enjoy these hot beverages, but it's also our clients and partners who we can’t wait to welcome into our new space, and take a coffee from our own freshly roasted beans.
A new break out area means the team has more space to enjoy the things they love. A favourite between everyone is that our Google Foosball table made the journey over to our new office and has brought a lot of new competition to the fold, as everyone clambers together to try and compete for the glory! The new Design Box meeting room boasts space and entertainment options, as well as the chance to pitch and present wonderful high definition concepts to our clients.
As lockdown reigned in tighter on our abilities to be able to have everyone in the same place at one time, the team had to shift gears and be able to access vital communication points when working from home, which had us introduce a new booking system for our clients to meet with our team on an appointment basis. So zooming aside, we also had a handy delivery from our communications partners with brand new phone systems setup. We want to thank our partners Wildfire Phones and Wildfire Energy for helping us to source a green energy supplier for our new office space as we strive forwards to be a complete Eco-Friendly company, putting back in what we take out.
On the topic of being Eco Friendly, we partnered with Ecologi. One of the many ways we’ve sought to improve on our own practices is implementing an entirely new hosting infrastructure. With more updates including improvements and reliability we are proud to offer Google Cloud to our clients. One of the many reasons we are making good positive changes is all to help the ecosystem.
It’s now common knowledge that one of the best tools to tackle the climate crisis and keep our temperatures from rising above 1.5C is to plant trees. They are also crucial to preventing ecological collapse. We feel encouraged that more work now than ever is being done to tackle this crisis.
New additions to the team
We brought in two new faces to the company as we welcomed Dan Boyden, our Junior Apprentice in Web Development and Support. And we said hello to SEO Executive - Joe Turbin. Joe arrived in August and spent the first month doing research on our existing clients. He then implemented SEO techniques across key pages on the site, making sure the content is plentiful where necessary, keywords are properly inserted and spaced and more. Since then, this client (Firework Crazy) have had a significant increase in rankings, making them have a lot more presence in Google Search Engines.
Speaking about joining the Design Box team, Joe had this to say...
“I've really enjoyed my time at Design Box since joining. When I first joined, I was incredibly eager to get to work after a difficult start to 2020. Since then, I feel like I have thoroughly progressed as an SEO expert and have made some great friends along the way. I truly feel like an integral part of a family, ready to play a part in our clients' success and subsequently, Design Box's success.”
We are delighted with the changes made to Design Box over the past six-twelve months but we are a long way off being finished yet. We can't wait to reveal plenty more exciting improvements to you in the latter part of 2021... Stay tuned..
We wanted to take a moment to share what the Design Box Media office will look like for the next couple of weeks, and more importantly, what this means for your sites and business.
We want to assure you that Design Box Media is running smoothly. We have been closely monitoring the Coronavirus situation as it unfolds. At this current time its business as usual but we have set up a contingency plan in place should we all have to work remotely. There will be no change in the support, service, or experience for you and your sites or business.
What does this mean for your business?
- All current and future meetings have now been rescheduled via online meeting software (Zoom chat or Google Hangouts). Should you need to book a consultation or meeting please Book an online meeting here.
- If you have any website or support requests you must email email@example.com to ensure we can allocate the correct person to your request.
- Business opening hours will be the same as normal 09:00 - 17:30 Monday to Friday
- Please only call the mainline 01702 46431 or 0800 1933 655. Staff direct numbers may not be in operation.
- Out of hours, support will remain for emergency situations (read below)
What to do in emergency situations
What we consider to be emergencies for out of hours support.
- Your website goes down (support available for website maintenance and or website hosting clients only).
- If you can not send or receive emails (support available for email hosting clients only).
- Should you suspect or experience any security issues (support available for website maintenance, website hosting and or email hosting clients only)
- If you have an online web store and are unable to receive payments due to any technical errors (support available for website maintenance clients only).
If you are not on any of our website maintenance and support plans and or need assistance please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Out of hours you may incur slower response times and we may not able to always attend the phone, should this be the case please leave a short answer message or email email@example.com and we will address your issue ASAP.
We are here to help
Right now, we believe it’s more important than ever to provide you with peace of mind that your website will be looked after. We’ll continue to offer 24/7 support for your sites, provide successful marketing campaigns, and create helpful content for you and your teams.
Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have experienced changes to your business that you need to discuss with us.
Since the situation is fluid, we will continue to keep you all updated should that change.
Our new Client marketing dashboard
Do you ever feel like you struggle to keep track of your online marketing and get lost on the many different platforms? To make things simple for our clients, at Design Box Media we've created a brand new, fully customisable marketing dashboard displaying over 30 marketing integrations including SEO, PPC, Social Media and many more. Our new dashboard sends automatic monthly reports to our clients for any chosen integration. We will be offering this service completely free of charge to our existing marketing clients and will provide them with their personally dedicated login.
Our main goal is to be transparent and completely honest with our clients, giving them the same access we have to their marketing statistics. We also want to ensure our clients understand their online marketing, our new dashboard breaks down all the components of online marketing into a number of sections with easy to read pie charts, graphs and statistics with an extremely easy to use interface.
What Exactly does our dashboard include?
- View your rankings for all your keywords in a both Google and Bing and the live changes of these rankings.
- See all of the backlinks to your site along with their trust flow score and citation flow score. You can also find out if your site has any new links, lost links and if these links are follow or nofollow.
- Keep track of your competition by being able to add up to ten competitors.
- Run site audits to keep up to date with any errors, warnings and notices.
- See which pages and keywords gain the most traffic to your site.
- View how many sessions your site has and if these sessions are gained from organic search, direct, paid search, social or referrals.
- Gain information on the average time of each session, the percentage of how many of these sessions are new and the average bounce rate.
- Take a look at your who's interacting with your business, our new dashboard displays where your audience is (worldwide), their age, gender and the device they use.
- Your conversions.
- Which pages get the most traffic and which are the most popular pages to exit your site on.
- Our dashboard integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn and Google+.
- See how much engagement your social media receives, including likes, shares and comments.
- Where your engagement is coming from; showing the top countries, cities and languages interested in your business.
- Who is engaging in your social media; find out the age and gender of your audience.
- See how much of your engagement is organic compared to being paid for.
- View all your adverts in one place, keeping track of all your campaigns, ad groups, ads and conversions.
- We can integrate your dashboard with Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, LinkedIn Ads and Ad Roll.
- See how much you've spent overall on adverts, how much you're paying per conversion and how much you're paying per click.
- Find out which campaigns, ad groups and adverts are the most successful.
- Keep track of email campaigns, how many emails have been sent and how many have been opened.
- View the percentage of recipients who have opened your email and the average bounce rate.
- See how many people have unsubscribed from that particular email.
- View the date and time of every email campaign you have sent.
- Receive a monthly report on a specific date straight to your chosen email inbox.
- Reports include updates on every component that is featured on your custom dashboard.
Each of our marketing clients will be able to have their own personal log in, giving you exclusive access to your own personal custom dashboard. All of these features can be viewed in a monthly, weekly, daily or custom basis, allowing you to see your statistics in a specific timeline if needed. For example, you can view your spend on Google Adwords throughout the month, week or specific day.
Our new dashboard is nearly ready to launch, coming to all of our marketing clients in August. If you have any questions or are interested in gaining access to our dashboard by becoming one of our marketing clients, feel free to contact us.